Wednesday 25 December 1667

[Continued from yesterday. P.G.] …it being a fine, light, moonshine morning, and so home round the city, and stopped and dropped money at five or six places, which I was the willinger to do, it being Christmas-day, and so home, and there find my wife in bed, and Jane and the maids making pyes, and so I to bed, and slept well, and rose about nine, and to church, and there heard a dull sermon of Mr. Mills, but a great many fine people at church; and so home. Wife and girl and I alone at dinner — a good Christmas dinner, and all the afternoon at home, my wife reading to me “The History of the Drummer of Mr. Mompesson,” which is a strange story of spies, and worth reading indeed. In the evening comes Mr. Pelling, and he sat and supped with us; and very good company, he reciting to us many copies of good verses of Dr. Wilde, who writ “Iter Boreale,” and so to bed, my boy being gone with W. Hewer and Mr. Hater to Mr. Gibson’s in the country to dinner and lie there all night.

16 Annotations

cum salis grano  •  Link

2am or later, no mincing of words?
"...and Jane and the maids making pyes,.."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I wonder where the spies come in in the Mompesson tale? Anyway a very Dickensian, pre-Dickensian Xmas, Sam. Hope Bess was able to enjoy her dinner.

arby  •  Link

Thanks Terry, I was wonderin' about that.

Fern  •  Link

"...and stopped and dropped money at five or six places, which I was the willinger to do, it being Christmas-day..."
I take it this refers to almsgiving. Homeless people sleeping in the street?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

What a shame..."Mompesson" somehow seems to fit a spy tale.

"Then Mompesson was the master spy? Right?"

"Who's reading this?"

"Anyway what I really want to know is...Who threw those pies?"


"No, the pies...Who threw those pies?"


"You said...Mompesson turned and a pie hit him in the face. Then the other two turned and pies came flying in from all directions."

"No, sprites...Sprites came flying from all directions."

"Erections?" Blanch. "Bess? Spies frying from their erections?"

I sense a double meaning here...Jane could have followed me last night.

"No...Directions...Sprites. Damn, when did Hollier say I could take this thing off my cheek?"

"When did Holland make us sing offkey? Bess, I know I've been taking my work home a bit too much but..."



Australian Susan  •  Link

“…and stopped and dropped money at five or six places, which I was the willinger to do, it being Christmas-day…”

Probably in locked alms boxes in church porches. aka The Poor Box or the Poors Box. The money would be distributed by the church wardens to the deserving poor.

NJM  •  Link

Very interesting to note that SP ate his Christmas Lunch/Dinner alone ?? No family ? No friends etc. how would that seem to us now ??

Also a question that has long puzzeld me as to why SP never received a Knighthood ? His service was great and fairly well recognised at the time but no reward and he never seems to mention it. A coach for status but nothing about a title ? Suspected Catholic tendencies tainted him perhaps ? Others around him seemed to have gained their advancement without comment ?

Frank G.  •  Link

If Jamie hadn't thrown away his throne, I think Pepys would have ended life as Sir Samuel, if not Lord Pepys.

Mary  •  Link

The 'lonely' Christmas dinner.

For most of the first half of the 17th century any special celebration of December 25th was either frowned upon or banned. Even before the Puritans came to power in England, Christmas festivities had come to be regarded as 'too Popish' to be tolerated.

Although most of the official strictures against celebrating the day as anything more than a religious festival had begun to be eased during the years of the Restoration, the day itself was still not regarded as the social occasion that it was later to become. Thus not really surprising that Sam should have had a quiet dinner with just his wife and Deb Willett for company.

Twelfth Night, however, was regularly observed as an occasion for both feasting and merry-making with friends.

Mary  •  Link

Christmas Day in Scotland.

As a postscript to the above, it is to be noted that in Scotland December 25th remained a normal, working day until 1958. Only then was it designated a public holiday.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Robert, sorry to have rained (or snowed) on the (s)pie parade.

Bess is reading him the Restoration era "scientific" verification/confirmation of paranormal phenomena. The idea is similar to the method of verification of the Royal Society experiments, sc. that they be observed by known persons of quality and veracity, and if by several and by instrument, all the better.

This pursuit and methods continue to the present day. I have a friend -- a certified veterinarian tech, ergo scientifically trained -- who's an avid investigator of haunted sites with instruments and others of like inclination, aiming to rid them of troubling spirits. (See the 3rd section of )

Glanville's tract is, of course, also deep background for the "Ghost Busters" film, &c.

cum salis grano  •  Link

Until Big time merchants understood that the gift of giving was good for business,and that people liked to show off their success in the past year, by giving glittery presents was added to the those that were already charitable that the season took on its Bah humbug and wonders for children glory.

john  •  Link

Christmas slowly became christianised during the Victorian era to dampen the damage from roving gangs. Vide "The Battle for Christmas" by Stephen Nissenbaum.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Re NJM's question about why SP was never knighted, I think Frank G's answer is right on. I'm equally puzzled about why John Evelyn never became Sir John (his grandson did, but I think it may have been a purchased baronetcy). Could it also have been an effect of the Glorious Revolution of 1688?

Incidentally, while trying to find out a little more about this, I learned that the Crabtree & Evelyn soap and skin products company, founded by an American in 1973, was named for him.

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